For immediate release | April 5, 2016

Choose Privacy Week demands respect for minors' privacy

CHICAGO — Choose Privacy Week, the American Library Association's annual event that promotes the importance of individual privacy rights and celebrates libraries and librarians' special role in protecting privacy in the library and in society as a whole, will take place May 1 – 7, 2016.

This year, Choose Privacy Week highlights the need to respect and protect student and minors' privacy, especially in a time when technology, mobile computing, social media and the growing adoption of "big data" analytics pose new threats to young people's privacy. Students in particular are increasingly subject to tracking and monitoring, as schools turn to Web-based apps, on-demand delivery of personalized content, virtual forums, social media and other interactive technologies to deliver educational content and monitor student behavior both on- and off-campus. This year's theme, "Respect Me, Respect My Privacy" not only seeks to raise awareness of the growing threats to minors' personal privacy, but to inspire a new regard for young people's civil rights and personal dignity.

As members of a profession dedicated to providing access to information while defending their patrons' individual privacy and civil liberties, librarians are uniquely equipped to help students, minors and parents understand the nature of new technologies and how these technologies facilitate the collection, storage, use and abuse of young people's personal data. Librarians and libraries can also equip students, minors and parents with the information and tools they need to take control of their personal information and demand accountability from the government agencies and corporations that seek to exploit their personal data.

During Choose Privacy Week the American Library Association invites librarians and library users to engage in a conversation among themselves and with their comunities about respecting individuals' privacy and defending students' and minors' privacy. To support this conversation, the Office for Intellectual Freedom and the ALA-IFC Privacy Subcommittee are sponsoring a week-long online forum that features commentaries by educators, librarians and law and privacy experts on these issues. Featured speakers include:

Michael Robinson, chair of the IFC Privacy Subcommittee and Head of Systems, University of Alaska-Anchorage, who will discuss the need to respect and defend student privacy;.

Dorothea Salo, associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, School of Library and Information Studies, will discuss developing a privacy curriculum.

Magee Kloepfler, M.Ed, NBCT, librarian at Bolton High School in Bolton, Connecticut, will address student privacy in the context of an ILS shared by a multi-type consortium.

Neil Richards, professor of law at Washington University and the author of "Intellectual Freedom: Rethinking Civil Liberties for the Digital Age," will consider privacy as a form of respect for individuals.

Carolyn Caywood, retired public librarian and privacy advocate, will write about privacy and civic engagement.

Debbie Abilock and Rigele Abilock will discuss privacy and student data from a vendor’s perspective. Debbie Abilock is a former school administrator and school librarian and a cofounder of NoodleTools, an online research management platform. Rigele Abilock is also a co-founder of NoodleTools and serves as its president of corporate strategy.

Anna Lauren Hoffmann, lecturer and post-doctoral scholar at the University of California- Berkeley School of Information will address privacy, technology, and self-respect

Annalisa Keuler, a nationally board certified school librarian at Mountain Brook High School in Birmingham, Alabama, will discuss student data privacy with a personal perspective from her school district.

Connie Williams, a national board certified teacher librarian currently working at Petaluma High School in Petaluma, California and past president of the California School Library Association will share what she learned from her students about privacy and teens.

Kyle Jones, assistant professor in the Department of Library and Information Science at Indiana University-Indianapolis will demonstrate how today's educational data mining practices are incompatible with the definition of educational records set forth in the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) .

Deborah Caldwell Stone, deputy director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom, will provide an overview of state and federal laws aimed at regulating the collection of data from students and minors as well as proposed legislation addressing student data privacy.

Now in its eighth year, Choose Privacy Week (May 1-7) is a national public awareness campaign that seeks to deepen public awareness about personal privacy rights and need to insure those rights in an era of pervasive surveillance. Through programming, online education, and special events, libraries will offer individuals opportunities to learn, think critically and make more informed choices about their privacy. The American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom established Choose Privacy Week to help libraries work with their communities in navigating these complicated but vital issues. Privacy has long been a cornerstone of library services in America and a right that librarians defend every day.

For more information on Choose Privacy Week, visit or contact Deborah Caldwell-Stone in the Office for Intellectual Freedom at (312) 280-4224 or


Deborah Caldwell-Stone

Deputy Director

Office for Intellectual Freedom